Monk Class Preview

Monday, June 18, 2018

Some players love to play monks so they can strive toward enlightenment. Others just like to punch stuff!

Monk Features

Monks choose whether their key ability is Strength or Dexterity, which will determine the DC of some of their abilities. Their selection of initial proficiencies looks pretty different from most classes! First off, they have expert proficiency in all their saving throws. Monks aren't trained in any weapons, but they are trained in all unarmed attacks. They also get powerful fist, which increases the damage die of their fists and lets them make lethal strikes without penalty when using normally nonlethal unarmed attacks. Further, they're untrained in armor, but get graceful expertise at 1st level, which gives them expert proficiency in unarmored defense (everybody else is only trained).

They get one last class feature at 1st level, of course: Flurry of Blows! This is a single action that can be used once per round to make two strikes using an unarmed attack. If both hit, their damage is combined. Both these attacks take the multiple attack penalty normally, so usually the monk will be making the second attack at a -4 penalty (since a fist is agile). Flurry of Blows is a huge advantage, letting the monk attack up to four times in a round, or letting the monk have plenty of actions to move and attack in a single turn. Speaking of moving, at 3rd level, a monk gains incredible movement, increasing his speed as long as he's not wearing armor. This starts at a 10-foot increase, and it goes up by 5 feet every 3 levels.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Because monks can defend themselves in so many different ways, we wanted to let the monk pick how his saving throws improve. His saves increase at 7th level through the path to perfection class feature, which lets him increase a save's proficiency rank to master. The second path to perfection, at 11th level, lets a monk treat any successful save as a critical success instead, as long as he has master proficiency in that save. The monk gets his third path to perfection at 15th level, which he can use to either increase his proficiency rank in another save to master proficiency or progress his proficiency at a save in which he's already a master to legendary.

The monk's unarmored defense proficiency also goes up as he levels, first to master at 13th level and then to legendary at 17th. You'll notice that monks no longer add their Wisdom modifiers to AC, which is due to a few factors. First, depending on the monk's Dexterity modifier, the gulf between a heavily armored character and a monk without armor is extremely low, so adding even more bonuses would put the monk really far ahead. Second, adding more than a single ability modifier to a check or DC now really distorts the game. Third, we have another role for Wisdom to play in the class, and wanted it to be optional so monks aren't dependent on many different ability scores, giving you more flexibility with how you can build a monk character.

Of course, it goes without saying that the monk's unarmed attacks get better as he levels up. Magic strikes, at 3rd level, makes the monk's unarmed attacks magical, and increases his proficiency rank to expert. At 5th level, metal strikes causes them to be treated as cold iron and silver; at 17th level, adamantine strikes makes them act as adamantine. Fierce flurry, at 9th level, increases the damage dice of a Flurry of Blows by one step whenever both strikes hit. At 19th level, the monk has developed perfected form, meaning that when he makes an unarmed attack, he can treat any die roll lower than 10 as if he had rolled a 10! This lets the monk plow through weaker enemies who can't handle his immaculate fighting style, and against bosses, he can even turn a good number of misses into hits.

Monk Feats

A monk's feats let him expand how he can attack, teach him special martial arts techniques, let him develop an entire fighting style, or use magic called ki (which we explain in the Ki section).

Your monk could take Monastic Weaponry at 1st level, letting him use his unarmed attack proficiencies, as well as any monk abilities that normally work with unarmed attacks, with simple and martial monk weapons. This is how Sajan gets to use that sweet temple sword! If you'd rather stick with punches, kicks, knees, and headbutts, take a look at Brawling Focus at 4th level, which gives you the critical specialization effect for anything in the brawling weapon group. This means if you critically hit with your unarmed attacks, the target might be slowed 1 on its next turn, losing 1 action.

Some of the special attacks you can learn include Stunning Fist, a great option if you're looking to recreate your Pathfinder First Edition monk. A Stunning Fist strike takes 2 actions and you make an unarmed strike; if the strike deals damage, the target has to succeed at a Fortitude save against your class DC (based on your Strength or Dex, remember?) or be flat-footed for 1 round, or stupefied 2 if it critically fails. So how do you stun the target? If your strike is a critical hit, the target's saving throw result is treated as one category worse, and if it critically fails its save it's stunned for 1 round! At 4th level, you can pick up Deflect Arrow, a reaction that gives you a +4 bonus to AC against a ranged weapon attack, or Flying Kick, which lets you use 2 actions to jump and make a strike at the end of your jump. You can even Long Jump—normally 2 actions—as part of your Flying Kick, potentially moving very far before your strike. Other attacks include Ghost Strike, which lets you use 2 actions to target TAC, or Wall Run, which lets you run up vertical surfaces at your full Speed.

Now what about fighting styles? Let's look at one that starts with the Crane Stance feat at 1st level! A stance takes one action to enter, and can be used only in an encounter. You typically stay in a stance until you enter another stance or get knocked out. In Crane Stance, you gain a +1 bonus to AC and get better at jumping, but the only Strikes you can make are crane wing attacks. What the heck are those? Well, many stances give special unarmed attacks that have statistics much like weapons. Crane wing attacks deal 1d6 bludgeoning damage, and have the agile, finesse, nonlethal, and unarmed traits. They're not too different from normal fist strikes, but others differ more; for instance, heavy dragon tail attacks deal 1d10 bludgeoning damage and have the backswing trait instead of agile or finesse. What if Crane Stance isn't enough? Well, you can pick up Crane Flutter, a reaction that increases your AC against a melee attack and lets you immediately riposte with a crane wing strike at a -4 penalty if the triggering attack misses. Each of the stances in the Playtest Rulebook has one special attack tied to it, but I could see us expanding on them in the future, couldn't you? If you really get into stances, you can pick up Master of Many Styles at 16th level, which lets you enter a stance as a free action at the start of each of your turns.

Ki

Oh, geez, I'm running long, huh? Let's make this quick. You know how I said there's a role for Wisdom? Well, that's where ki powers come into play. And when I say powers, I mean powers—they're spells just like other powers (such as the wizard's school powers or the cleric's domain powers). You gain access to ki by picking up the first ki power feat, Ki Strike, which gives you a pool of Spell Points equal to your Wisdom modifier, which you can spend to cast ki strike. This power is a Verbal Casting free action you can use when making an unarmed strike to get a +1 bonus to your attack roll. So you let out a shout and hit better!

Now that you have Spell Points, you can expand your repertoire of powers to teleport with Abundant Step, fire a cone of force with a Ki Blast, or kill someone with Quivering Palm. Quivering Palm costs 2 Spell Points, and as with the monk's other Spell Point abilities, taking the 16th-level feat to get this spell increases your Spell Point pool by 2. Let's take a look, and then I'm outta here (probably flying away using the wind jump power)!

Quivering Palm Power 8

Attack, Necromancy
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Duration 1 month

Make a melee unarmed Strike, dealing damage normally. If you succeed and the target is alive, anytime during the duration you can spend a Verbal action to speak a word of death that could instantly slay it, depending on its Fortitude save.

Success The target survives, the spell ends, and the target is bolstered against it.
Failure The target is stunned for 1 round but survives. The spell's duration continues, but the target is bolstered against being killed by quivering palm for 24 hours.
Critical Failure The target dies.

If you cast quivering palm again, any previous quivering palm you had cast ends.

Logan Bonner
Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Grand Lodge

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Re: AC- Aren't Bracers of Armor going to be a thing? would they not help with the AC disparity?

Liberty's Edge

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-Poison- wrote:
Monk feels like a lot of investment for, honestly, nothing spectacular or noteworthy like Rogue gets.

This seems a really premature statement to me, actually. From what we've seen they have a flat-out action enhancer, which is a big deal, better Saves than almost anybody (Paladins might be better when using Divine Grace), and some truly ridiculous mobility options. Styles also sound potentially very cool.

So far, AC is actually my only complaint.

Ssalarn wrote:
I don't know that many players are going to look at the Monk class and think "Huh, what if I played this unarmored guy with a starting Dex of 10?", but I suppose that's what the playtest is for. Dex wasn't even a tertiary stat for Cobra, so anyone who isn't specifically avoiding putting points in Dex will likely end up with a higher AC by at least a point, probably several points.

My worry is that even with good Dex, they'll still not be great at AC, and will in fact be actively bad if they don't go that route. I mean, a Raging Barbarian with Chain Mail and Dex 14 has AC 16. I don't feel like a standard Barbarian, currently in Rage, should have as much AC as a Monk who has maxed out their AC, even if the Monk does find that AC survivable.

Liberty's Edge

Aristophanes wrote:
Re: AC- Aren't Bracers of Armor going to be a thing? would they not help with the AC disparity?

They're going to be a thing, but Bracers of Armor in PF2 neatly replace the bonuses of magic armor (costing the same and providing the same bonuses), but not the mundane armor bonus you get for wearing the non-magical version.

Grand Lodge

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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Seems like the Monk is below the Rogue in total AC if they go DEX by 1 KAC, and by more if they go STR.

They may well catch up with Rogue eventually (due to increasing Proficiency) if Dex based...but not until 13th level at the earliest. Which is less than helpful in many ways.

blog wrote:
In Crane Stance, you gain a +1 bonus to AC and get better at jumping...Well, you can pick up Crane Flutter, a reaction that increases your AC against a melee attack and lets you immediately riposte with a crane wing strike at a -4 penalty if the triggering attack misses.

The monk should be in good shape using one of his styles like Crane Style with Crane Riposte (+1 AC and use reaction for additional AC and attack).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
-Poison- wrote:
Brew Bird wrote:
One sort of build I've always wanted to try in PF1 is a "one punch" style character, focusing everything into one big attack each round.

You would have loved how Pummeling Style used to work in 1E.

The Saitama action was so real.

I certainly did love it. Sadly, I never got to play with it as I was mostly GMing before the nerf.


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I don't have a single thing to complain about in this preview. As a fan of pf1e monks it all looks awesome.

It's great to see Paizo try to help in prioritising stats and making the monk less MAD. Whether they've gone far enough will have to wait until we get the monk. I'm glad to see flurry of blows still exists in a way that feels like a flurry of blows vs an area of effect spell. I was really worried about that.

I love that ki points are now optional. That will really help with brawlers being enabled by the monk class as well as mystical monks.

Quivering Palm still acts like quivering palm. I understand the objection if you had an issue with the pf1e version, otherwise it seems odd.

I do like that ki abilities are now spells. Abundant step, empty body, no sacrifice and greater ki sacrifice were already spells in pf1e. Making them monk spells helps keep things simple and loses no flavour. Also If multiclassing works how I think it does (and I hope I'm wrong) it will create a fair amount of synergy between clerics and monks, allowing players to ramp up the western monk flavour in place of the eastern monk flavour. Having these spells be verbal only keeps them down to 1 action which keeps the flavour of them being mystical attacks vs spells (also gives players an excuse to yell Hiyah! If they're so inclined).

Stunning fist having a reduced chance  of working looks to be offset by it working all day. Have to see if it ever goes off first though. If it doesn't, perhaps replacing damage and/or costing more actions would help reduce its power sufficiently to increase the chance of working substantially.


Yep, my concerns are mostly numerical too at this point.

STR is a bit flimsy because not wearing armor benefits DEX skill use, so I always thought STR should have some extra juice somehow.


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JoelF847 wrote:
For Master of Many Styles, it sounds like you gain the ability to change styles quickly, rather than have 2 styles active at once. For a 16th level ability, I'd have thought you'd be able to have 2 at once. Is there a way to accomplish this (perhaps as an 18th or 20th level ability)?

The problem I see with this is that styles seem to be keyed to single style strikes. Maybe they could go the kineticist route and have advanced strikes that count as both, but it'd be a bit complex for core. What I'd like to see with Master of Many Styles is something more like the Brawler's martial flexibility. As it stands, since styles seem to involve limited class feats, being decent at a couple styles means not being great at any of them.

Liberty's Edge

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Gorignak227 wrote:
blog wrote:
In Crane Stance, you gain a +1 bonus to AC and get better at jumping...Well, you can pick up Crane Flutter, a reaction that increases your AC against a melee attack and lets you immediately riposte with a crane wing strike at a -4 penalty if the triggering attack misses.
The monk should be in good shape using one of his styles like Crane Style with Crane Riposte (+1 AC and use reaction for additional AC and attack).

Crane Style helps. However, having any Style be mandatory is kinda not a great plan balance and options-wise, and I'm not convinced it helps enough, especially for Str-based Monks.

It's very possible other Class Feats will in fact help, and help sufficiently. I'm perfectly willing to believe that. But then they're mandatory for most Monks, a Feat tax of the sort PF2 seems to be trying to avoid.

So this is sort of still a problem, IMO.


Monk Class Preview wrote:
The second path to perfection, at 11th level, lets a monk treat any successful save as a critical success instead, as long as he has master proficiency in that save.

No one has mentioned this yet, but is this not redundant? Doesn't being master at a Save give you success=crit success naturally?... (which he got at level 7) For example:

Barbarian Class Preview wrote:
gaining the juggernaut class feature at level 7 (which grants master proficiency in Fortitude and the ability to count any successes you roll as critical successes instead)

Am I mistaken here?...

On another note, I'm going to leave my skepticism of the STR Monks survivability on the way side. Especially since we have someone who ACTUALLY played a STR Monk is commenting here. Thanks Ssalarn...


BTW, Quivering Palm is Necromancy (logical) but is there spell type for it otherwise, i.e. Arcane/Divine/etc?
We see abilities in P1E (+X Saves vs Divine Spells, for instance) which hinge on that, would Monk Ki spells have any magical type in that regard?
Occult seem appropriate typing for Monk IMHO. Or would it just be "not Arcane, not Divine, not Primal, not Occult"?

Liberty's Edge

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Iron_Matt17 wrote:
No one has mentioned this yet, but is this not redundant? Doesn't being master at a Save give you this naturally?...

They've previously clarified that it isn't automatic, it's just that abilities that give you Master usually give it. This version also appears to give it to you for all Saves you have Master in (assuming the wording is correct). That's actually very cool if you can find a way to achieve that in a second or even third Save.

Iron_Matt17 wrote:
On another note, I'm going to leave my skepticism of the STR Monks survivability on the way side. Especially since we have someone who ACTUALLY played a STR Monk is commenting here. Thanks Ssalarn...

For the record, I'm not skeptical of Monk survivability. I'm skeptical of Monk AC parity with other martial characters.

Liberty's Edge

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Quandary wrote:

BTW, Quivering Palm is Necromancy (logical) but is there spell type for it otherwise, i.e. Arcane/Divine/etc?

We see abilities in P1E (+X Saves vs Divine Spells, for instance) which hinge on that, would Monk Ki spells have any magical type in that regard?
Occult seem appropriate typing for Monk IMHO. Or would it just be "not Arcane, not Divine, not Primal, not Occult"?

Type isn't listed in spells themselves for any spell we've seen (since many can show up as more than one type). It's presumably indicated in the Class Feature that gives you spells.


-Poison- wrote:

"you can pick up Master of Many Styles at 16th level, which lets you enter a stance as a free action at the start of each of your turns."

Are free actions still a thing in this new action economy? I had thought free/swift actions were simply replaced with "reactions" based on a previous blog.

As I understand it, there are still things one can do in combat that do not require actions (e.g. confessing your love while you swordfight) so there are still "free actions". I believe there's an icon for "this does not cost an action".


Quandary wrote:

BTW, Quivering Palm is Necromancy (logical) but is there spell type for it otherwise, i.e. Monk spell? Ki Spell?

We see abilities in P1E (+X vs Divine Spells, for instance) which hinge on that, would Monk Ki spells have any type in that regard?
Or would it just be "not Arcane, not Divine, not Primal, not Occult"? (Occult seem appropriate typing for Monk IMHO)

None of the other Spell point powers that we've seen so far have indicated that they are keyed to spell type (i.e. Arcane, Divine, ect), even in the Wizard or Domains posts. It's possible that classes with spell points automatically count as a certain magic type (and I'd agree Occult seems appropriate), but it could just be that outside of actual Spells, all spell point powers are untyped like that. I don't want that to be the case, but all I can say for sure is that none of them have had any explicit source typing.

Grand Lodge

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Count me in as another seriously worried about the AC of the monk compared to other classes. If a level 1 dex based monk can't even match the AC of a rogue in a chain shirt then I'm struggling to see how a strength monk isn't just going to get destroyed.


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Over all, I like it. These changes combined with the new ability score boosts definitely help with the MAD factor, though I worry a little if it is enough. I think the Paladin feels like the best point of balance as our melee with spell points MAD example.

I think this is one case where the modular nature of PF2 will really shine.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
Temperans wrote:
What? So is the new AC higher or lower in the end? (compared to rogue in both editions)

Comparing to previous editions is misleading.

Seems like the Monk is below the Rogue in total AC if they go DEX by 1 KAC, and by more if they go STR.

They may well catch up with Rogue eventually (due to increasing Proficiency) if Dex based...but not until 13th level at the earliest. Which is less than helpful in many ways.

They do not catch up with Fighter even then.

Wasn't the 1st level Fighter's AC 17? I'm almost sure it was, same as the Rogue's. The monk's AC being a point lower is worrying, but not necessarily the end of the world. Remember, they also get expert proficiency in all their saving throws, which means their lower AC is counterbalanced by better defenses elsewhere.

I suspect the low level monk will have slightly lower AC than they'd love, but will still have great saves (even better if they focus on both Dex and Wis) AND can probably benefit from Mage Armor on top of that. Which means they are looking pretty similar the PF1 monk, haha.

There will also be some other ways to pad the AC... keeping a staff on hand for using the block trait springs to mind, for example, though shield users can of course do this too.

The monk will also have better touch AC than the fighter at low levels, and will probably surpass the rogue's touch AC at higher levels. Then there's the question of how much 0 bulk and 0 armor check penalty will actually matter...

Quote:
I was hoping that armored monks could be a thing. :/ Vegeta and numerous other fictional martial artists wear some form of at least light armor. Oh well...

I feel you, but I'll also point out that only one monk feature seems to prohibit armor, and that's Incredible Mobility. Since it sounds like General Feats can get armor proficiency, you can probably get him in armor easy enough and then just be a little slower. Heck, given the Devs are up in the air on arcane spell failure (and won't include it in the playtest) I bet we could convince them to make all the monk features armor agnostic if folks want to spend their general feats that way.

Quote:
I expected Wis as an additional add-on to AC to disappear, but I kind of thought there might be a feat or feature where you could use your Wis in place of of your Dex if it was better. Well, who knows, maybe that is actually an available feat to help Str-based monks, and they just didn't go into it.

I do actually like this idea quite a bit... Although, I suppose if you do that then dex becomes an obvious loser. STR still adds to your damage. Dex adds to your AC, but WIS would do that AND grant more spell points.

Liberty's Edge

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Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Count me in as another seriously worried about the AC of the monk compared to other classes. If a level 1 dex based monk can't even match the AC of a rogue in a chain shirt then I'm struggling to see how a strength monk isn't just going to get destroyed.

It's...worrisome.

A Dex 14 Str Monk (what should be a reasonable build, IMO...Dex 10 is absurd, but a 14 seems intuitively like it should be sufficient for most non-Dex characters) has an AC of 14 at 1st level. That's probably lower than most Barbarians by at least a point or two, and as much as 5 points lower than a Fighter or Paladin with a shield who's using it.

Ouch.


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I do really like how wisdom is largely optional now. It's basically a trope in classic Kung Fu cinema to have someone who is a brilliant martial artist who is also a complete dingus (e.g. "Dirty Tiger Crazy Frog" for all you Sammo fans- basically a Kung Fu movie with the three stooges doing excellent fight choreography)

Which you can now represent as an 8 Wis monk. Something gets a wisdom penalty right?


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I don't really understand the notion that the 2E Monk is any less MAD than the 1E Monk. If you choose to ignore a bunch of your available class feats then sure, wisdom is no longer a necessity. But if you want to use ki powers at all then you're exactly as MAD as you were in 1st edition.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:

I don't have a single thing to complain about in this preview. As a fan of pf1e monks it all looks awesome.

It's great to see Paizo try to help in prioritising stats and making the monk less MAD. Whether they've gone far enough will have to wait until we get the monk. I'm glad to see flurry of blows still exists in a way that feels like a flurry of blows vs an area of effect spell. I was really worried about that.

I love that ki points are now optional. That will really help with brawlers being enabled by the monk class as well as mystical monks.

Quivering Palm still acts like quivering palm. I understand the objection if you had an issue with the pf1e version, otherwise it seems odd.

I do like that ki abilities are now spells. Abundant step, empty body, no sacrifice and greater ki sacrifice were already spells in pf1e. Making them monk spells helps keep things simple and loses no flavour. Also If multiclassing works how I think it does (and I hope I'm wrong) it will create a fair amount of synergy between clerics and monks, allowing players to ramp up the western monk flavour in place of the eastern monk flavour. Having these spells be verbal only keeps them down to 1 action which keeps the flavour of them being mystical attacks vs spells (also gives players an excuse to yell Hiyah! If they're so inclined).

Stunning fist having a reduced chance  of working looks to be offset by it working all day. Have to see if it ever goes off first though. If it doesn't, perhaps replacing damage and/or costing more actions would help reduce its power sufficiently to increase the chance of working substantially.

Yaaaay. I'm happy you're happy. :)


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Iron_Matt17 wrote:
No one has mentioned this yet, but is this not redundant? Doesn't being master at a Save give you this naturally?...
They've previously clarified that it isn't automatic, it's just that abilities that give you Master usually give it. This version also appears to give it to you for all Saves you have Master in (assuming the wording is correct). That's actually very cool if you can find a way to achieve that in a second or even third Save.

Where have they previously clarified this? Does that mean the Level 7 Path to Perfection to Fort does not have success=crit success? While the Barb's level 7 Juggernaut ability does?


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Arachnofiend wrote:
I don't really understand the notion that the 2E Monk is any less MAD than the 1E Monk. If you choose to ignore a bunch of your available class feats then sure, wisdom is no longer a necessity. But if you want to use ki powers at all then you're exactly as MAD as you were in 1st edition.

I am betting if you go heavy on the Ki powers you end up with less style feats. I bet some folks will gladly go that route, but it seems like you have to choose 2 of 3 max: Damage, Defense, and Powers.


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Unicore wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
I don't really understand the notion that the 2E Monk is any less MAD than the 1E Monk. If you choose to ignore a bunch of your available class feats then sure, wisdom is no longer a necessity. But if you want to use ki powers at all then you're exactly as MAD as you were in 1st edition.
I am betting if you go heavy on the Ki powers you end up with less style feats. I bet some folks will gladly go that route, but it seems like you have to choose 2 of 3 max: Damage, Defense, and Powers.

I'd be very surprised if anyone takes more than one style feat, especially since they appear to be mutually exclusive at all times and it isn't even efficient to switch between them until later levels. There will be one style feat chain that is best suited to your build, and that's the one you will take.

Liberty's Edge

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Wasn't the 1st level Fighter's AC 17? I'm almost sure it was, same as the Rogue's.

It is, but we know Fighters get to Master in armor eventually (and can get to Legendary somehow), so the Monk's increases after 1st are matched or exceeded by the Fighter's. So they might catch the rogue, but will never catch the Fighter.

This is also the Dex Monk vs. a bog standard Rogue or Fighter. The Str Monk is in a much worse position.

Captain Morgan wrote:
The monk's AC being a point lower is worrying, but not necessarily the end of the world. Remember, they also get expert proficiency in all their saving throws, which means their lower AC is counterbalanced by better defenses elsewhere.

This is true to some degree. But only to some degree. +1 on one or two Saves (everyone get Expert at one Save, and most people seem to get it in two), so they're only getting +1 to one Save as compared to many characters. +1 Reflex doesn't seem worth lower AC to me, though that might not turn out to be true in play.

Captain Morgan wrote:
I suspect the low level monk will have slightly lower AC than they'd love, but will still have great saves (even better if they focus on both Dex and Wis) AND can probably benefit from Mage Armor on top of that. Which means they are looking pretty similar the PF1 monk, haha.

I despise how much PF1 Monks rely on Mage Armor for basic functionality, as it's super counter to their whole theme. I will be very disappointed if that's still the go-to/necessary tactic in PF2.

Captain Morgan wrote:
There will also be some other ways to pad the AC... keeping a staff on hand for using the block trait springs to mind, for example, though shield users can of course do this too.

They can only do this if they're a weapon user or using the right style, both of which require Feat investment. I'd really like the Monk to be on par with other people sans Feats. Burning Feats to get to where other people are without Feats is not fun.

Captain Morgan wrote:
The monk will also have better touch AC than the fighter at low levels, and will probably surpass the rogue's touch AC at higher levels. Then there's the question of how much 0 bulk and 0 armor check penalty will actually matter...

This is true to some degree, but IMO not enough of an advantage to compensate for the weakness.

Captain Morgan wrote:
I do actually like this idea quite a bit... Although, I suppose if you do that then dex becomes an obvious loser. STR still adds to your damage. Dex adds to your AC, but WIS would do that AND grant more spell points.

Not if it costs a Class Feat. Then Dex gets to be the one who doesn't burn a Feat on that.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
I don't really understand the notion that the 2E Monk is any less MAD than the 1E Monk. If you choose to ignore a bunch of your available class feats then sure, wisdom is no longer a necessity. But if you want to use ki powers at all then you're exactly as MAD as you were in 1st edition.

Yeah, I think the problem comes that monks need to have the ability to not only make due with, but build around just a couple main ability scores, the same way that a Paladin will probably want all scores to some degree, but only needs Str and Cha for their features. If Ki-less monks get to do equally cool things that rely on them having invested heavily into Dex and Str, then I'd say it'd be fine, but we don't know yet, and by the looks of it, only Dex/Wis is truly supported as a less MAD alternative.

A bit of a tangent:
This actually leads me to a bit of a thought I've been having. I doubt it would make it into 2e, but I think I'd like it if it did: What if all classes were technically equally MAD, but the classes were designed around the idea that you'd choose two main Ability Scores from your classes' theme to build around. It would probably be difficult for casters to work in this system, but I can think of ways that it could work otherwise. A fighter who picks out Str and Cha abilities might be able to be an inspiring leader. A Dex Int Bard might be less the Performative type, and more something akin to a dilettante investigator, ect. Letting classes be broader and allowing folks to color outside the lines to pick up aspects that are thematic to a class, without being necessarily archetypal to that class. Just something I'd like to see.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Count me in as another seriously worried about the AC of the monk compared to other classes. If a level 1 dex based monk can't even match the AC of a rogue in a chain shirt then I'm struggling to see how a strength monk isn't just going to get destroyed.

It's...worrisome.

A Dex 14 Str Monk (what should be a reasonable build, IMO...Dex 10 is absurd, but a 14 seems intuitively like it should be sufficient for most non-Dex characters) has an AC of 14 at 1st level. That's probably lower than most Barbarians by at least a point or two, and as much as 5 points lower than a Fighter or Paladin with a shield who's using it.

Ouch.

Yeah, what particularly worries me are critical hits, and that perhaps you won't have access to a... defensive (?) weapon with +2 to AC for [A] like the bo staff without spending a feat in proficiency.

Arachnofiend wrote:
I don't really understand the notion that the 2E Monk is any less MAD than the 1E Monk. If you choose to ignore a bunch of your available class feats then sure, wisdom is no longer a necessity. But if you want to use ki powers at all then you're exactly as MAD as you were in 1st edition.

You get 4 boosts to attributes together. It's MAD and functional, though it leaves a sour taste in that you don't get a comfort attribute boost like other classes (for example, a Fighter could boost STR/CON and then pick two other attributes to boost with little pressure.)

So my worry is that Monks are attribute-locked, which is the new type of issue you should look for in this type of system.

Similarly, 5E Monks are MAD but functional, but extremely attribute-locked into investing all their ASIs into DEX/WIS and then some CON.

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A lot to digest from the preview but I want to raise one thing about Ki Strike.

"ki power feat, Ki Strike, which gives you a pool of Spell Points equal to your Wisdom modifier, which you can spend to cast ki strike. This power is a Verbal Casting free action you can use when making an unarmed strike to get a +1 bonus to your attack roll. So you let out a shout and hit better!"

First off I'm assuming you have to use Ki Strike before your attack roll.
If so it's terrible, even with more restricted accuracy +1 before a roll say 3 times a day is awful, games are interesting when you are making informed choices about the use of limited resources, shifting the odds 5% in your favour before you determine RNG is beyond frustrating, given this power will only effect 2 rolls out of 20 (missing by 1 and missing a crit by 1)
What's worse this is a feat nearly all monks will take to get access to Ki powers and shouldn't be a total lemon.
Please change that to be usable after hitting or missing has been determined, that way 3/4 times a day you can use up a resource to turn a miss to a hit, or hit to a crit when you determine it really matters.

Liberty's Edge

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Which you can now represent as an 8 Wis monk. Something gets a wisdom penalty right?

Goblins. Goblins get a Wisdom penalty.

Arachnofiend wrote:
I don't really understand the notion that the 2E Monk is any less MAD than the 1E Monk. If you choose to ignore a bunch of your available class feats then sure, wisdom is no longer a necessity. But if you want to use ki powers at all then you're exactly as MAD as you were in 1st edition.

This is true if you want to use Ki, yeah. Of course, getting to boost 4 scores every 5 levels helps this out quite a bit...

Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Where have they previously clarified this?

Oh, geeze. I think it was the monster stat-block thread?

Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Does that mean the Level 7 Path to Perfection to Fort does not have success=crit success? While the Barb's level 7 Juggernaut ability does?

The Barbarian's Juggernaut ability clearly does add this. 7th level Path of Perfection is less clear.


I loved it! ^^ Most of it...
I think Quivering Palm should receive some attention here. I mean, perhaps it's not as bad as I'm thinking about, but... The stun effect, it's only once per use or it's like "as long as it keeps failing the save, you get to reactivate"? The later is much better.


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HidaOWin wrote:

A lot to digest from the preview but I want to raise one thing about Ki Strike.

"ki power feat, Ki Strike, which gives you a pool of Spell Points equal to your Wisdom modifier, which you can spend to cast ki strike. This power is a Verbal Casting free action you can use when making an unarmed strike to get a +1 bonus to your attack roll. So you let out a shout and hit better!"

First off I'm assuming you have to use Ki Strike before your attack roll.
If so it's terrible, even with more restricted accuracy +1 before a roll say 3 times a day is awful, games are interesting when you are making informed choices about the use of limited resources, shifting the odds 5% in your favour before you determine RNG is beyond frustrating, given this power will only effect 2 rolls out of 20 (missing by 1 and missing a crit by 1)
What's worse this is a feat nearly all monks will take to get access to Ki powers and shouldn't be a total lemon.
Please change that to be usable after hitting or missing has been determined, that way 3/4 times a day you can use up a resource to turn a miss to a hit, or hit to a crit when you determine it really matters.

While I don't disagree that it's pretty lackluster, based on other classes (well, the Druid preview at least), we know that you get more spell points from later feats, so it's not just 3/4 per day. But even so, it does seem like a feat tax just to get a ki pool.


Maybe I'm missing it, does ST/DX determine the DC for Ki powers too or is it Was?


John Lynch 106 wrote:


I love that ki points are now optional. That will really help with brawlers being enabled by the monk class as well as mystical monks.

Pretty much. Much of the time, I just want a “Black Belt” character.

John Lynch 106 wrote:


Also If multiclassing works how I think it does (and I hope I'm wrong) it will create a fair amount of synergy between clerics and monks, allowing players to ramp up the western monk flavour in place of the eastern monk flavour.

You know, I read a lot of AD&D 2e stuff, and that edition’s monk was very weird. 2e Monk (Spells & Magic) has the unarmed, unarmored fighting style, but other than that, it has divine spells instead of ki effects (although with access to some unorthodox spheres). It really is a Monk! That makes a lot of sense and no sense at the same time.

Shadow Lodge

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Obviously, I need to sit down and play the monk at different levels for a true read, but my concerns seem to be in line with those being posted already. Also, “Flurry of Blows” as previewed does not feel like FoB...might as well call it Double Strike or somesuch. And 0/-4/-8/-8 for full round of attacks feels like Flurry of Misses all over again. (And if the intent is move/Flurry/(other 1 action ability) it really doesn’t feel like a FoB)

Honestly, this preview has me feeling just whelmed by the PF2 Monk. Here’s hoping there will be an engaging archetype for it!

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After thinking about it more, I'm also not a fan of monks have zero weapon proficiency without spending a feat. That means a default monk can't attack an acid blob without taking damage instead of using a bo staff, quarterstaff, etc to save his hands from acid burns (not to mention having no ranged attacks).

I'd much rather monks have access to simple monk weapons, and monastic weaponry give them training with martial monk weapons (and possibly exotic) and let monk weapons take advantage of monk abilities which normally only work with unarmed attacks.


Secret Wizard wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
I don't really understand the notion that the 2E Monk is any less MAD than the 1E Monk. If you choose to ignore a bunch of your available class feats then sure, wisdom is no longer a necessity. But if you want to use ki powers at all then you're exactly as MAD as you were in 1st edition.

You get 4 boosts to attributes together. It's MAD and functional, though it leaves a sour taste in that you don't get a comfort attribute boost like other classes (for example, a Fighter could boost STR/CON and then pick two other attributes to boost with little pressure.)

So my worry is that Monks are attribute-locked, which is the new type of issue you should look for in this type of system.

Similarly, 5E Monks are MAD but functional, but extremely attribute-locked into investing all their ASIs into DEX/WIS and then some CON.

Yeah, it does feel like it'll be easier to be MAD in this system, but I don't like it when the mechanics effectively limit your viable choices. It's the same reason I disliked feat trees in 1e. You get 10-ish feats, plus maybe a few more depending on class, but if TWF or archery takes up a number of them, then I can either choose to fully commit to being be a two weapon fighter or an archer, or I can choose to fall behind what is expected while I take interesting, but less mechanically useful, feats. But somehow this is even worse, because it's not just "Ooh this mechanic seems interesting" it's "Ok, I can play a suave, charismatic fighter, without feeling like I'm sacrificing anything" the loss of which feels far worse than just not being able to do a cool thing in combat


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JoelF847 wrote:
After thinking about it more, I'm also not a fan of monks have zero weapon proficiency without spending a feat. That means a default monk can't attack an acid blob without taking damage instead of using a bo staff, quarterstaff, etc to save his hands from acid burns (not to mention having no ranged attacks).

He can carry a staff anyway. Being untrained in a weapon just means a -2, right? That hurts, but is OK for emergencies like acid blobs.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
I don't really understand the notion that the 2E Monk is any less MAD than the 1E Monk. If you choose to ignore a bunch of your available class feats then sure, wisdom is no longer a necessity. But if you want to use ki powers at all then you're exactly as MAD as you were in 1st edition.

True, but it is a lot easier to keep multiple stats competitive now. MAD tends to be an issue mostly with low points buys, and we looking at something like a 22 point buy equivalent for 1st level characters. The 4 ability boosts every 5 levels helps too, and I suspect as long as you keep your to hit stat as close to max as you can that people will get a little more flexible with tertiary boosts. I may want my Con at 14 at level 1, but I could see maybe not continuing to crank it if I want something else. Plus there's the diminishing returns past 18, so I could see continuing to add to your key stat but letting your secondary stat rest at 18.

Also, the cleric and Paladin both have the MAD issue as well, if they want to have both melee power plus either more Heal/Harms or more spell points. CLerics will still probably have a hard time getting decent intelligence and Paladins will have a hard time being wise, for example. Alchemists are looking pretty MAD as well. Barbarians need max strength and con, but probably also want dex to offset their rage penalty.

It does seem like the monk has to crank his dex more than these others because of armor-- hopefully the other parts of the monk package make up for this shortcoming.

Liberty's Edge

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I must admit, I'd much prefer if they were proficient in simple weapons. I mean...what about ranged attacks? Are they just screwed on those forever for no particular reason?


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I like this.
The monk looks like it's going to hit hard, be mobile, pack solid saves and have some neat tricks available. If the cost of that is a point or two of AC I'm on board.
Not every class needs all the things.


Sammy T wrote:

Obviously, I need to sit down and play the monk at different levels for a true read, but my concerns seem to be in line with those being posted already. Also, “Flurry of Blows” as previewed does not feel like FoB...might as well call it Double Strike or somesuch. And 0/-4/-8/-8 for full round of attacks feels like Flurry of Misses all over again. (And if the intent is move/Flurry/(other 1 action ability) it really doesn’t feel like a FoB)

Honestly, this preview has me feeling just whelmed by the PF2 Monk. Here’s hoping there will be an engaging archetype for it!

To me, it feels more like FoB as implemented in 5e (to my recollection. I'll admit I never played much 5e). As I remember in that, they did away with flurry as it is in 3.PF, and made it that a "Flurry of Blows" was basically the name for spending a ki point for an extra attack. This feels similar, but sans the ki point expenditure.

I feel like I'll have to reserve judgement, as I hope that the less interesting base FoB is supplemented by class feats that make it cool, but it really does feel like a necessary evil to preserve the 2e action system, while still having something that could be identified as "Flurry of Blows" than a valuable class feature. Maybe something to improve agile even further, as 0/-3/-6/-6 doesn't feel so bad, but that could skew too far in the other direction.


JoelF847 wrote:

After thinking about it more, I'm also not a fan of monks have zero weapon proficiency without spending a feat. That means a default monk can't attack an acid blob without taking damage instead of using a bo staff, quarterstaff, etc to save his hands from acid burns (not to mention having no ranged attacks).

I'd much rather monks have access to simple monk weapons, and monastic weaponry give them training with martial monk weapons (and possibly exotic) and let monk weapons take advantage of monk abilities which normally only work with unarmed attacks.

I'd be happy if you at least could use a club and staff: that at least lets you attack melee, ranged [assuming you can still chuck a club] and can use the defensive from your staff.


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The whole point of simple weapons is that literally everyone should count as proficient in them, because they are SIMPLE... You should only need to actually take proficiency in a weapon group to gain access to martial weapons. If the monk is really not proficient in anything without burning a feat that is very weird to me.

I totally accept needing the feat to get to apply your unarmed powers to / channel them through even a simple monk weapon. But you should at least be able to swing a stick without a non-proficiency penalty.

Liberty's Edge

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dragonhunterq wrote:

I like this.

The monk looks like it's going to hit hard, be mobile, pack solid saves and have some neat tricks available. If the cost of that is a point or two of AC I'm on board.
Not every class needs all the things.

For the record, I agree that not every Class needs everything. I'm just concerned that Monk will be as easy to hit as Barbarian (who you'll note I didn't complain about low AC on at all) without their extra HP and Temp HP to make up for that fact.

Monks being easy to hit is also a bit off thematically. I'd rather they had less HP (I suspect it's 10 + Con now, and wouldn't mind it going down to 8) in exchange for some additional AC enhancement.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I must admit, I'd much prefer if they were proficient in simple weapons. I mean...what about ranged attacks? Are they just screwed on those forever for no particular reason?

Something tells me that they'll go 'Hadouken' on monks in 2e, which I guess means not screwed "forever" just for the most part, especially if you don't go ki. Also, Shurikens might stay monk weapons, but still, that's still a feat, and still assuming shurikens don't suck as much in 2e.


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So almost everything that makes a Monk different from an unarmed-focused Fighter is optional? Sounds like a critfail on one of my favourite classes. Any martial should be able to be as good an unarmed combatant as a Monk.


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Barathos wrote:
...Any martial should be able to be as good an unarmed combatant as a Monk.

Wait, Why? one of the defining features of the monk is being the best unarmed combatant - any martial being able to match that is undermining (one of) the central foundation of the monk - IMO.

I cannot agree with you. (unless you missed a 'not' in there)

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Fuzzypaws wrote:

The whole point of simple weapons is that literally everyone should count as proficient in them, because they are SIMPLE... You should only need to actually take proficiency in a weapon group to gain access to martial weapons. If the monk is really not proficient in anything without burning a feat that is very weird to me.

I totally accept needing the feat to get to apply your unarmed powers to / channel them through even a simple monk weapon. But you should at least be able to swing a stick without a non-proficiency penalty.

I don't know. I kind of like the idea of having the options to completely eschew weapons.


Arachnofiend wrote:


...Which means that the monk can't be intelligent, charismatic, or wise if he wants to survive combats. That is really bad.

How so? He’s still getting two more ability score increases every five levels in addition to these, so he might not be the equivalent of Albert Einstein, but he’ll be able to focus on other abilities.


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I am... concerned. From what I can tell, compared to PF1 monk, PF2 monks lose all weapon proficiencies, increasing damage dice past the first level, stunning fist, bonus feats, wisdom to AC and fast movement. Some of these can be bought back as class feats I presume, but doing so means you don't get ki powers at the appropriate levels. Flurry seems worse as well, going from -1/-1 to 0/-4.

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